Last updated on October 21, 2020
I have written two posts about suggested questions for Nominee Barrett — here and here. But watching a good deal of today’s confirmation hearing, and listening to her dodge way too many questions, I realize I should also have set out some suggested questions to highlight how thin are her qualifications to be a Supreme Court nominee. Why? Because it is relevant — and not just undiscussed but wrongly conceded. But also because she is quietly cocky and at times had an openly expressed “I hope no one would question my integrity and competence” sort of approach.
So. I think some Democratic Senator could do well by asking:
Q. Ms. Barrett you have some impressive academic credentials. But you recognize that you have a pretty thin resume for the job you are seeking, right?
Q. No? Well let me ask you a few questions.
Q. Elena Kagan was a Solicitor General. Have you served in that capacity?
Q. Justice Kagan argued 6 cases before the Supreme Court. Justice Roberts argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court. Justice Alito argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court. How many have you argued?
Q. Before being appointed to the Supreme Court, J. Sotomayor served 5 years a a federal district judge and then about 10 years as a 2d Cir appellate court judge. Justice Alito served about 15 years as a federal appellate judge. Justice Gorsuch was a federal appellate judge for 11 years. RBG was a federal appellate judge for 13 years. David Souter had had seven years of judicial experience at the appellate level, four years at the trial court level, and ten years with the Attorney General's office. How many years have you served as a judge?
Less than 3 years.
Q. I understand you have been a law professor. Elena Kagan was the Dean of Harvard Law School. Have you ever been the head of a law school?
Q. Justice Steven Breyer was a Harvard Law School professor. While there he wrote the leading textbook on Administrative Law. Have you ever authored a textbook?
Q. Justice Breyer also previously worked as a senior counsel in the DOJ’s Antitrust Division and as special assistant to the Assistant Attorney General, and as chief counsel to the US Senate Judiciary Committee, among other appointments. Have you ever served in any such government positions?
Q. Brett Kavanuagh worked as a counsel to a Special Prosecutor and as an assistant counsel to President Bush. John Roberts was a special assistant to the US Attorney General and later an associate White House Counsel and later a Deputy Solicitor General. Justice Gorsuch was the Principal Deputy to the Associate Attorney General. Have you ever served in such or similar capacities?
Q. Brett Kavanaugh was a partner at the international law firm Kirkland Ellis. John Roberts was a partner and head of the Supreme Court practice at the prestigious firm Hogan & Hartson. Have you ever been a partner at a law firm?
Q. Sonia Sotomayor was an assistant district attorney in NYC.
Samuel Alito was an Assistant US Attorney for NJ. Have you ever been a prosecutor?
Q. David Souter served as a state Supreme Court justice. Sandra Day O’Connor served on a state Court of Appeals, and was also Majority Leader in the Arizona State Senate. Do you have any state Supreme Court or State legislative experience?
Q. Thurgood Marshall founded the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and personally argued Brown v. Board of Education (!) Both he and RBG innovated sepate civil rights litigation strategies that changed the face of American law and society. Ever done anything like that?
I could go on and on but I put this up quickly because the relevance timing is running out.
Bottom line — this nominee is also not the best qualified by a far measure. She was picked because of her anti-Roe and anti-ACA credentials and her young age (given the lifetime appointment). I think the above themes need to be drawn out.
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